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Michael Schumacher’s former boss at Ferrari has provided a rare health update on the stricken Formula One legend.
Jean Todt says Schumacher is “making progress” in his recovery from devastating head injuries suffered in a skiing accident in 2013.
In an interview with Radio Monte-Carlo, Todt said the 50-year-old Schumacher was making “good progress”, adding that the pair had recently watched F1 on TV together.
“I’m always careful with such statements, but it’s true,” Mr Todt said.
“I saw the race together with Michael Schumacher at his home in Switzerland."
Updates on Schumacher’s health have been few and far between in the five and a half years that have passed since his accident.
“Michael is in the best hands and is well looked after in his house,” Todt said.
“He does not give up and keeps fighting.”
However Todt admitted Schumacher’s inability to communicate well has left him saddened.
“His family is fighting just as much and of course our friendship cannot be the same as it once was,” he said.
“Just because there’s no longer the same communication as before.
“He continues to fight. And his family is fighting the same way.”
How was Schumacher injured?
Schumacher was skiing with son Mick in the French Alps on the 29th December, 2013 when he fell and hit his head on a rock.
Doctors said he most likely would have died if not for the helmet he was wearing.
Schumacher was placed in a medically induced coma with a traumatic brain injury, before being moved to a rehabilitation ward about six months later after regaining consciousness.
He was then transferred to the University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, before being moved back to his home near Lake Geneva in September 2014.
In November 2014, it was revealed that the 49-year-old was “paralysed and in a wheelchair”, and he “cannot speak and has memory problems.”
“Considering the severe head injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months,” a family statement said at the time.
“There is still, however, a long and difficult road ahead.”
How is he being treated?
Schumacher is reportedly looked after by a 15-person medical team, costing a reported $182,000 per week.
On the fourth anniversary of his accident in 2017, his care bills had reportedly passed $31 million.
In September 2017, it was claimed that Schumacher could be moved to the US for specialist treatment, where he owns a ranch in Texas.
“We have extensive experience with trauma patients,” Brain injury specialist Dr Mark Meeks said at the time.
“There is probably no clinic in Europe that handles as many cases as we do.”
Will he ever recover?
In 2018, Professor Mark Oberman from the Centre for Neurology of the Asklepios Clinic offered hope.
“According to a Swedish study, between 30 and 40 percent of patients have regained consciousness within four years,” he said.
“Many can come back to life and see how their children and grandchildren grow up, what plans they have or what else happens in the family or circle of friends.”
In November 2016, family friend Ross Brawn revealed that family are still hoping they will see Schumacher “as we knew him”.
“We go see him and hope and pray that one day he will make a recovery,” he said.